Thursday, February 02, 2006

Rameshwaram - The Prayers and bathing Ritual...

Next day was hectic for me, so I slept early and woke up at around 4 Am in the morning to meet the priests who said that they would wait for me at the gate. By the time I reached there, the dawn was breaking and they took me inside for the early darshan which was supposed to be without bathing as the bath of purification is a famous ritual here. After which I was lead to the beach for the bath in the Rameshwaram sea for purification. Hundreds of devotees were there and the sun was slowly rising in the east. One lone cloud was hanging in the morning sunrays some distance away a devotee was performing Suraya namaskar (It’s a great ritual where one pay one’s respect to the Sun by offering him water through ones cupped hand after purifying oneself with bath). The setting was almost holy and I waded deep into the sea and took my three dips in cool refreshing waters of Bay of Bengal. After this bath I was lead inside the temple to bath in 22 water sources within the temple, which are supposed to be the direct sources of waters from the various holy places in India. These are under ground springs with very refreshing cold water which actually makes one feel so pure after having a bath. The person who took me around explained to me the various holy places each kund was associated with. During the next one hour I was taken to each of the 22 kunds and bathed by pouring water from them. The ritual has a very calming affect on the inner self. The cold water and seeing hundreds of devotees with devotion in heart and prayer on the lips and chanting of Om Namah Shivaya mantra makes the whole atmosphere pure and sanctified. Slowly one withdraws oneself inside and thinks of the Supreme Being within and gets ones first glimpse of the inner supreme consciousnesses which slowly arouses in each one the devotees who have even an iota of faith within. I also witnessed few children bathing and crying at the same time, to which I felt rather bad as to why the parent have put them through this as they were too young to even feel the sanctity of the ritual let alone mature enough to understand it. At the end of the whole ritual I came out so refreshed and so close to the Supreme Being that I ended up in a reverie.

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